Otis Has Talent: Hula, Kung Fu, Rock 'n' Roll

Stage fright won’t stop these kids from strutting their stuff.

“Are you ready for the Talent Shoooowww?!”  Third grade teacher and emcee Mark Jaeger’s voice booms across the multi-purpose room to the sound of screaming applause.

The annual Otis Talent Show has officially begun.

“The kids just love this event,” says Jaeger. “We are probably the biggest talent show on the Island – most schools do theirs in one day, but we have a whole week."

“I’m feeling nervous and excited,” admitted second grader Abigail Rice (the daughter of this writer), before her debut performance on Tuesday. Her classmate and singing partner, Rayna Nelson, agreed. “It’s going to be good,” she said.

Performances are “of all varieties,” says Jaeger. "We have singing, dancing, poetry, kids playing musical instruments, Kung Fu, skateboarding, jumping rope. You name it, we’ve got it.”

Indeed, Tuesday’s show spotlighted several singers, piano and guitar solos, a band of three fifth-grade boys — complete with electric guitar and drums —performing the Beatles’ “Octopus’s Garden,” a first grader who told a story about her two new baby brothers, a kung fu duo, and an impressive combination act of storytelling and taekwondo.

Wednesday’s show will include repeat participant Lily Montell-Weiland, who said, “I’ve been in the talent show every year. The first two years, I did Hula Hoop, and this year I’m going to dance with my friend Selma. We’ve been practicing, and I’m really excited.”

Reece Bissinger, a fourth grader who sang Journey's "Don't Stop Believin'" with four of her classmates Tuesday, was feeling great after their act. "I've done this every year, and every year I sing."

The show draws so much enthusiasm from Otis students that this year the school had to limit the field to the first 50 individual or group entrants from grades 1-5, and performances could be no longer than three minutes.

Kindergarteners have their own show on a separate date. The talent show, which takes place every day for a week during the hour surrounding student lunch periods, continues through Friday.

“I’m so proud of our incredible Otis kids," said Principal Shirley Clem. “It takes a lot of courage to get up in front of all these people and perform, and the audience is always so supportive.”

Patch Contributor Eileen Rice, mother of the talented Leah and Abigail Rice, is one of the many parents enjoying their children's performances at this week's talent show at Otis School.

Frances Montell May 25, 2011 at 04:06 PM
Thanks for this sweet story! It is really amazing how much the kids look forward to the Talent Show and what they get out of it--not just as performers but also as supportive audience members. Thanks also for interviewing Lily. :) One small correction: I'm sure Lily mentioned that she will be performing with her *two* good friends Selma and Darby (who is in 3rd grade). They've been working together on all aspects of their performance from the choreography, to planning their costumes, and even editing the song. It has been a great experience of teamwork and collaboration for them.
Suzanne Fong May 25, 2011 at 07:19 PM
Thanks for this great story! My daughter Maya performed on Monday and loved it! It's a show, not a competition; everyone is cheered on and applauded heartily. You never know what talents lie outside the school day until an opportunity like this is made available!
Leah Rice May 29, 2011 at 03:40 PM
Great article mom! I love it!


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